Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Mural Painting in Maadi


I'm not sure what the occasion is since I'm mostly in and out of Maadi in a rush these days, but recently a group of people have been painting a wall on Road 9. I approve of murals.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Mechanic's Apprentice


He's young, perhaps thirteen or fourteen, and probably went to school for a few years. He's from a relatively poor family and the public schools here are fairly appalling. The class sizes are huge, the teachers are untrained, and discipline is fierce. Many of the children give up long before they finish school and apprentice themselves to tradesmen and skilled workers to learn a profession. One can hardly blame them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Colour!


Truck drivers here like colour. They paint their trucks blue, red, yellow and then apply stickers and such to add even more colour and pattern. I was sitting in traffic next to one and these colours just grabbed my eye.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Multitasking Gone Wrong


Okay, I know that Cairo traffic has become truly appalling, but this is a bit over the top. While on my way home from Maadi today, we were crawling along in dense traffic when I noticed that the driver in the car next to me was on the phone AND reading the newspaper at the same time. Notice that this was the DRIVER of the car, not a passenger. I hauled out my mobile phone and snapped his photo while my driver laughed hysterically and then suggested that we change lanes before there were reprisals. Life on the roads of Egypt is not for the faint of heart!

Friday, April 24, 2009

And In The Centre Ring....


I was driving along happily minding my own business when I spotted a psychedelic camel and what appeared to be a saber-tooth tiger...or maybe just a regular tiger or lion or other large cat...standing in the front garden of an apartment building. I had to get a photo. It appears to be a company that does large statues and while I can kind of understand Venus de Milo and maybe Marcus Aurelius...or even the camel!..the guy with the black hair on the balcony is just a little too weird.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fill 'er Up


While running errands in downtown Giza we pulled into a Mobil station to get gas and were directed behind this bulldozer. We filled up and left LONG before it's gas tank was filled. That is what I call a FULL SERVICE station.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fusion Sham el Nessim


All over Egypt yesterday families were heading out for the nearest green space, sometimes just the median of a boulevard in the city, to picnic on boiled eggs, preserved fish, lettuce, fresh onions and bread. This tradition goes back to pharaonic times with one of Egypt's loveliest holidays, Sham el Nessim, or smelling the breeze. It usually occurs a day after the Coptic Easter, which is generally a week or so after the western Easter. Some people claim it as part of the Coptic Easter but its origins go farther back than any of the other Johnny-Come-Lately religions. Here on the farm, a group of friends gathered with children who were more than happy to chase wildly over 3 acres with a pack of dogs while adults feasted on homemade sushi followed by ice cream.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sitting On Top Of The World


A grandfather cuddles his granddaughter in a niche on the side of the Great Pyramid on a Friday morning.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Another Accident Waiting to Happen


Driving in Egypt is a non-stop parade of what NOT to do on the roads. This time a young man was happily reclining on some lumber in the back of a pickup truck. With a sudden acceleration, the wood and the young man could have been on the asphalt, but we didn't stay to find out.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

You Moving IN???


Donkeys and water buffalo look aghast as a camel lowers itself to its knees in front of their pen at the farm. The horses have met camels before in the desert, but the donkeys don't have much to do with them.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Helping the Easter Bunny


Do we celebrate Easter in Egypt? Why of course we do. And not just once but three times, as there is nothing that Egyptians like more than a celebration. Sunday was the Western Easter, I'm not sure of the date of the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Easter, and Shem el Nessim is coming up soon. Shem el Nessim is the pharaonic version complete with boiled eggs, onions and fish. This photo was taken at my multicultural Easter that a group of Finnish/Lebanese/Egyptian/Canadian/British friends celebrate together with foods and customs of all of our countries. A lovely afternoon.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Just Imagine


At the base of the Great Pyramid there are still a few of the limestone facing stones that once covered the pyramid and gave it a smooth gleaming white exterior. Most of these stones were removed during the 800 yr long reign of the Mamelukes in Egypt to build mosques and palaces in Cairo. Imagining the effect of the gleaming white limestone, smooth as glass covering this immense pyramid boggles the mind. It is no wonder at all that the ancients were in awe. They are awesome enough naked.

The character striding in front of the camera is one of the pyramid denizens who wanders up to tourists and offers his very interesting looks as an extra in photos for a bit of change.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The New Place For The Wedding


Looking for an interesting new venue for a wedding or party? Contact the Supreme Council for Antiquities to rent their tented wonderland on the Giza Plateau!

While visiting Giza this morning I noticed this fascinating structure as we were driving out to the panoramic view area. I asked one of the antiquities police on hand there what the tents were for and was told that they could be rented for weddings and parties.

Just GOTTA make those pyramids work harder.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Your Canal Is Burning


I remember as a child reading that a river in Chicago had caught fire. The image stuck in my mind quite firmly and as I was driving into town near the army base at Beni Yusuf, I saw to my astonishment that the debri on the canal was burning. A man standing over the fire on the bridge was watching it burn and I suspect that he set the fire but he moved off rather quickly. Good thing too, because most of what was burning was plastic and the fumes would have been pretty toxic.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Royal Toot


Egypt's roads and pathways are lined with mulberry trees (known locally as toot), both white and black. All summer long they shade the paths of passersby, but in April they do more. The mulberries are ripening and soon every tree will have bands of children hanging from every branch to pick the sweet berries. I have the normal "baladi" mulberries growing on the farm, but I also have a wonderful Omani mulberry that shades the hammock. These are Omani mulberries, about seven or eight cm long rather than the short, stubby local berries. And the flavour......

Monday, April 6, 2009

Nahdet Masr


Egypt Awakening is the title of this monumental sculpture that stands at the entrance to Cairo University. It is the work of Mohamed Mokhtar (1891-1934) one of Egypt's earliest modern artists. It portrays a woman and a sphinx.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Announcement of Spring


The bauhinia trees, known locally as camel-foot trees for the shape of their leaves, are the first sign of spring in Cairo. The kapok trees bloom earlier but the bauhinia's lovely mauve blossoms hang over many of the streets creating purple tunnels for pedestrians and drivers.